Trustees Approve Construction Funds

By Jack Dunn
Director of Public Affairs

University trustees voted on June 4 to authorize $12.4 million for capital improvement and construction projects which will take place during the present fiscal year.

Among the projects approved by the board were: relocation of utilities, necessary landscaping and replacement of the existing stairway that connects the Lower and Middle campus near Higgins Hall; site work preparation for the construction of a possible new office building on the hillside behind the O'Neill Library; a new roof for the Flynn Student Recreation Complex; and the replacement of the two electronic scoreboards and the sound system in Conte Forum. [Campus construction update.]

University President William P. Leahy, SJ, also summarized the University's major accomplishments of the past year. He noted that five BC students received Fulbright Fellowships during the academic year (four remain on the wait list) and one each had received a Marshall Scholarship and a National Science Foundation Grant. In addition, Fr. Leahy reported that the incoming freshmen class is the strongest in University history. This freshmen class, he noted, includes 19 Presidential Scholars and a more diverse student body with an average SAT score of 1276. The class also includes 560 AHANA students, an increase of 135 from last year's freshmen class.

Regarding faculty, Fr. Leahy reported that 30 new faculty have been hired for next year including nine who are AHANA. He noted that four hires are pending, three of whom are African-Americans.

Fr. Leahy also noted that BC had experienced its most successful fund-raising year in history, receiving more than $42 million thus far in cash gifts in fiscal year 1999 and $64 million in pledges. Its $14.4 million in reunion gifts was also a record. As a result of these increases, and solid investments, BC's endowment now stands at approximately $900 million.

Also, external grants for research through April 1 totaled $27 million, compared to $23.5 million during the entire 1997-98 academic year, Fr. Leahy said.

Regarding the University's Jesuit and Catholic identity, Fr. Leahy reported that four members of the Chaplaincy - two Jesuits and two lay women - moved into the residence halls this year, and that two additional Jesuits will live in student residences next year. He noted that a Peer Ministry Program was established this year to enhance the spiritual dimension in residence halls, and that 19 new Jesuits are coming to Boston College next year, five to join the faculty (two full time and three part time), three to do doctoral studies, with the remainder either on sabbatical or conducting research at the University.

Fr. Leahy concluded his report by informing the trustees of the recruitment of Alan Wolfe, one of the nation's leading public intellectuals, to head the new Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College, and of John Garvey, a well-known constitutional scholar from the University of Notre Dame School of Law, to serve as dean of the Law School. Both appointments were effective July 1.

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